Base Improvements, Big & Small7
June 9, 2013 by catomighty
The official FFG plastic flight bases have a few technical problems.
The open socket ends of the pegs routinely fracture. I’ve been repairing mine as this occurs using PolyZap glue (by the makers of Zap-A-Gap, the Zap-A-Gap may work just as well, but I always tend to reach for the PolyZap when working with plastics):
* Put a small drop of glue on the outside of the peg along the fracture(s). Don’t put the glue directly on the inside, lest any dried excess glue might prevent the socket from fitting onto the plug end of the base.
* While the glue is still wet, slide the tip of an X-Acto inside the socket, and twist the blade gently to pry the fracture open very slightly so that the glue can seep in.
* Then clamp it shut with a clothes pin and let it set. Try not to glue the clothes pin to the peg. But not a big problem if it does — just trim off any bits of wood that are stuck to it with the aforementioned X-Acto knife ^,^
The pegs that come with the big ship stands just start out with a problem — they fit loosely in the base. This allows the ships to wobble around too much, and they can easily just come off the base entirely while moving them across the game table. Grr.
* The easiest step to help alleviate this problem is to always put a pair of ship ID numbers in the base, even if you’re only flying one ship of that type. Or use a pair of blue target lock markers in the base slots for numbers. This braces the peg fore and aft and reduces a lot of the wobble.
* On closer inspection, another factor of the problem becomes apparent: the pegs themselves don’t seat completely down into the base. That was an engineering mistake! A little carving and filing around the bottom 1/16″ of the peg will allow it to seat completely into the base and hold the ship snugly.
* So far, this carving has not led to any increased incidents of the peg sockets fracturing.
And a simple improvement on the bases is to weight them to reduce the amount they might be bumped out of place during game play. The best weight I’ve found for the small bases is a 1/2″ Flat Washer. 1/2″ is the size bolt it’s designed to work with — the brand I’ve found is 1-3/8″ (35mm) outer diameter and 2mm thick.
* Crown Bolt/Rustoleum 1/2″ Galvanised Flat Washers, cheaper at Home Depot than Lowes, and cheaper still by the 50 count box — $14.
* Glue inside the bottom of the small flight bases with Zap-A-Gap.
* Haven’t weighted any big bases yet. I may well use 4 of these (1 in each corner of the big base), but will look around for anything that might be a snugger fit.
I cut up a mouse pad and glued it into my bases for a non-skid solution. http://youtu.be/enQWlVhdwfU
For the 1/2″ washers, did you find them slightly too tall for the base? I bought a box (not the same brand) and found they added height ever so slightly (maybe 1/2mm)
The Crown Bolt ones are a hair skinnier than the hollow of the base. I can pass a ruler over the outer edges of the base and see a line of light between the edge of the ruler and the top of the washer.
Ahhh ok thanks! I think I bought the wrong ones and now that I’ve glued all of them I cant remove them. If only FFG sold replacement bases….
I brought a base with me when I went to the hardware store so I could check the fit.
Did you use Super Glue or other CA type glue? Try one of the Super Glue removers.
Thanks for the tip!
I actually found an easier solution that required no chemicals: Leave it in the freezer overnight, took it out, twisted the washer and it fell straight out!
Yay! Glad that worked out quick and easy for you.